Author Archives: Marya E. Gates
In April my freelance writing kept on keeping on. I’m going to recap it all here in case you missed it! Since it was a five Friday month, I spoke to five different women directors (and two men) for my Moviefone column: Emma Seligman, Charlène Favier, Jeanne Jordan and Steven Ascher, Marilyn Agrelo, and Shari Spring Berman and Robert Pulcini. I also took a look back at the career of Joan Micklin Silver. A few Old Hollywood nerds got together and launched the Classic Film Collective on Patreon. Join at any level and you can read out monthly film recs and each month I’ll be contributing a poem. In April I wrote a poem about Lana Turner! I was a guest again on the Zodiac Chronicles podcast. And speaking of podcasts, the first two episodes of Prog Save America are out! In episode one Arianny Pilarte joins me to talk about Bruce Springsteen and New Jersey. In episode two I’m joined by Jill Blake as we count down our top ten rock flute tracks! For Nerdist I wrote about unicorns, Lina Wertmüller, and movie stunts. Lastly, I made my debut at Bright Wall Dark Room with a very personal essay about The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) and forgiveness.
Of course, aside from all that writing I also watched a metric ton of movies! Yes, you will see after the cut that I watched a whopping 123 new-to-me films in April! How? Why? Click on the cut to find out!!
First and foremost, I did a lot of writing and podcast guesting in March. For Moviefone I wrote about women directors who should get Oscar nominations this year (spoiler alert: two of them did!!) and 7 Riot Grrrl films to check out. For my Moviefone column Female Filmmakers in Focus I wrote about Amy Poehler’s Moxie & Tanya Hamilton’s Night Catches Us, Natasha Kermani’s Lucky and interviewed its cinematographer Julia Swain, I interviewed Phobias directors Camilla Belle, Maritte Lee Go, and Jess Varley, and I interviewed Slaxx director Elza Kephart. I made my debut at Ebert Voices taking a look at how the landscape for films directed by women has changed since I embarked on my #AYearWithWomen project in 2015. For my debut at Nerdist I wrote about how Philip K. Dick influenced The Weeknd. For my debut at debut at Vulture I wrote about three of my favorite working actors: Tzi Ma, Shea Whigham, and Luis Guzmán. For my debut at Crooked Marquee I wrote about why I love (and miss) Meg Ryan (you’ll notice I watched A LOT of Meg Ryan movies this month). Podcast-wise I joined Ryan at The Matinee to talk Oscars (we’ve been doing this for a decade now!!), I joined Jen Johans on her podcast Watch With Jen to talk about the rebel girls of Daisies, Foxfire, and Skate Kitchen, and lastly I dropped the trailer for my new music podcast Prog Save America, which will be launching later this month. Can you believe even with all of that I still watched A LOT OF MOVIES. So as always, after the cut you’ll find everything I watched in March, a breakdown by decade, and I highlight some of my faves.
February came and went so fast I feel like I have whiplash and I fear the bulk of 2021 will follow suit. Thankfully, there’ll always be movies to distract from the abyss that is time. Along with watching far too many films in February, I also started a column at Moviefone called Female Filmmaker In Focus which you can read here and I wrote about the movie parallels in the videos for The Weeknd’s After Hours which you can read here. As always, you can see everything I watched plus a breakdown by decade after the cut.
My watching as I dove head first into the New Year followed a few distinct phases. For the first week or so I did not have a working computer, so rather than relying on streaming I delved into the wild world of blind-bought Blu-rays that had been piling up (mostly from Kino, Twilight Time, and Criterion). You can also detect some frantic catching up on films on the Criterion Channel that expired at the end of January, films on Netflix that I had actually watched months ago back when that was my job, a deluge of screeners for Best International Oscar contenders (lots of free screenings of those popping into my inbox; I was overjoyed!), and lastly a handful of films from the Sundance Film Festival. As always, I’ll highlight a few favorites after the cut.
Usually I post this year end recap on the last day of the year, but like I said in my December wrap-up post, my computer died the day after Christmas so everything has gotten a bit delayed. Obviously 2020 was a very unusual year and you can see that reflected in what I watched. You’ll notice, for example, that I didn’t watch very many movies in June. I also only watched three films in September due to the passing of my Grampa and all that that entailed. I do however feel like I managed to expand the kinds of films I watched and watch a lot of films outside my comfort zone. So, as always, after the cut you can see every film I watched as well as a breakdown by decade, and a highlight of my favorite new-to-me (but not new release) film I watched. If you want to see my monthly recaps you can find those here.
Apologies for the delay on this post. My computer died at the end of December so this post as well as my end of the year wrap-up and my Favorite Fifteen Films of 2020 were delayed. If you follow me on social, you probably saw that I left my job at the beginning of December as well, so this month threw me for a bit of a loop. As always though, you will find everything I watched in December, a breakdown by decade, and a few favorites after the cut.
Truly baffling that today is the blog’s 11th anniversary. Back when I started this blog it was during the recession and I was living in the back of my parents’ house working a job I did not care for in my hometown. Watching films, writing about them, just sharing my love for them gave me a sense of purpose.
In the ensuing decade plus I have attended grad school and received an MFA in Film Production, I have worked at Warner Bros., Rotten Tomatoes, TCM/FilmStruck, and Netflix. Jobs I would never have dreamed I would have back when I started this.
But in doing those jobs I lost touch with the pure love of it all. I slowly stopped blogging as much. First went all the lengthy features, and then even Movie Quote of the Day. Now I don’t even write about the films during my monthly write-up. I’ve just gotten so tired.
I learned a lot at every single one of those jobs and am grateful for the experiences I would not have had over the last decade without them.
But as anyone who follows me elsewhere knows, I left my most recent job as the Editorial Manger for NetflixFilm at the beginning of the month. It was a weird, strange departure. But I think for the best. I am proud of all the work I did there in the last 19 months. It was surely some of the best work I’ve done.
I’m not sure yet what I am doing next. I am weighing some options for what ~ the future ~ holds.
With the pandemic raging I’ve been as isolated as I was in those years when I first started this blog. In the last two weeks I’ve found the joy of just watching cinema again. Just sharing my love of it again. It seems everything has come full circle.
The one constant is always cinema. Always.
Y’all this month was Noirvember 11!! I cannot even believe I’ve been doing this for that long. Every year more and more people (and libraries!) participate and it fills me with such joy (which is maybe the opposite of what noir should do???). I didn’t watch much this month beyond the one noir a day, but as always you can see everything I watched after the cut, plus a breakdown by decade and a few favorites.
September was a terrible month. I spent much of the month with my family up in the northern California because my grandfather died. Needless to say, not a lot of new-to-me movie watching happened that month. Hence why there was no post. I decided to combine the two months into one post. October included a virtual version of the Pordenone Silent Film Festival, so like most years there is an uptick in silent film, but not as much as past years. As always, you can see everything I watched and a breakdown by year after the cut.Read the rest of this entry